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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad/Otto_Winkelmann-02

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

In accordance with my last rank, General of the Police, I
was given the title of Obergruppenfuehrer in the SS.  After
my secondment to Hungary in April 1944, my official title
was Higher SS and Police Leader.

In July 1943, I had a meeting with Reichsfuehrer Himmler.
At that time, Reichsfuehrer Himmler was in bed, due to
illness.  At the meeting I made it extremely clear that I
was only prepared to be given duties which belonged to my
area as a professional police officer in the Order Police.
I stated explicitly that I wanted to have nothing at all to
do with Jewish matters.  I stated that my mind was so firmly
made up about this that I was prepared to take any
consequences of it.  During our conversation, which
sometimes became rather loud and lasted several hours,
Reichsfuehrer Himmler said to me that I was the typical
civil servant, who had not come from the National Socialist
movement.  However, he did promise me that he would respect
my wishes in the future.

In my view, Reichsfuehrer Himmler kept this promise after I
was assigned to Hungary.  I say this because in the service
instructions to the Reich Plenipotentiary in Hungary, Dr.
Veesenmayer, it was noted that the Higher SS and Police
Officer - this was the post I occupied after I was assigned
to Hungary in April 1944 - was to join the legation.  During
the time I was in Hungary I was never informed of this
service instruction.  I only became aware of this service
instruction during an examination this year, when I was
shown a photocopy of it.  The service instruction stated
that the Higher SS and Police Officer was to handle the
Jewish Question in the legation.  I was therefore never
instructed to handle the Jewish Question in Hungary.

When Reichsfuehrer Himmler informed me that I was being
assigned to Hungary, I asked him to refrain from this
measure.  Thereupon he told me that he considered it
important to assign to Hungary not someone from the Party or
the SS, but a professional officer.  In this connection he
mentioned that the Hungarians were sensitive and should not
"get the wind up," i.e., be shocked.

According to the description by Reichsfuehrer Himmler, when
he described the sphere of duties for my assignment, I was
in a position similar to that of a military attache or a
senior commander in the field.  That, in any case, is how I
understood Reichsfuehrer Himmler's explanations about my
sphere of duties.  He told me expressly that it involved
co_ordination between his departments, of these departments
with other German departments, and also with Hungarian
departments.  That meant that I had to iron out differences
of opinion between departments, particularly personal
differences and frictions, and to ensure that the different
authorities were able to work smoothly with one another and
with the Hungarian authorities.  I am not familiar with the
Reichsfuehrer-SS's directives of 1939.  I do not know what
these directives say.  It is possible that earlier I was
informed about these directives.  Today I have no
recollection of these directives.  I can only assume that
these directives could not have applied to me, because I
assume that the 1939 directives were issued for a Higher SS
and Police Leader in the areas occupied at that time, where
there was no foreign government.  There, the only authority
was that of a German occupying power.  However, in Hungary
there was a sovereign government under Regent Horthy.  Even
though Hungary's sovereignty was considerably restricted,
nevertheless the entire administration was subordinate to
Regent Horthy and his ministers, who controlled all
administrative bodies, including the police.

I received my instructions for my work only from
Reichsfuehrer Himmler.  I did not receive any instructions
from the various head offices, nor did I receive any reports
from the commanders to the head offices.  The only thing I
did get was copies from the Leadership Head Office of orders
for setting up of new SS units.  I received daily reports
from the Commander of the Security Police and the Security
Service.  These reports were also received by the Reich
Plenipotentiary, Dr. Veesenmayer, who passed the reports on
to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ribbentrop.  This he
did in order to create the impression that I was subordinate
to him.  To do this, when passing on these reports, the
Reich Plenipotentiary, Dr. Veesenmayer, would write: "The
Higher SS and Police Leader in Hungary reports to me..."
That gave the mistaken impression that I was subordinate to
him.  Dr. Veesenmayer wished to create this misleading
impression with the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

I thus did not receive any other reports in my area of
responsibility from the other head offices, nor did I read
or see any orders which were issued by the various head
offices, except for the orders mentioned about setting up
new SS units.  Naturally, I was also informed of orders
which led to changes in the competent German authorities in

I should like to stress once again that I was not
subordinate to the Reich Plenipotentiary, Dr. Veesenmayer,
either.  Dr. Veesenmayer incorrectly informed Minister for
Foreign Affairs, Ribbentrop - as I saw later, after the
collapse - that I was subordinate to him in all matters.
All statements by witnesses to this effect are incorrect.  I
did not participate in any official discussions in the
office of Reich Plenipotentiary Dr. Veesenmayer, in order to
receive orders from him, as someone subordinate to him.  If
I did have any official discussions with him, we discussed
things as partners on an equal footing, since I was not a
member of his legation.

Before I came to Hungary, as far as I know I was not
acquainted with Eichmann.  I can definitely say that at that
time I knew nothing of his duties, nor do I remember when I
made Eichmann's acquaintance.  It is supposed to have been
in a Budapest restaurant, when Kaltenbrunner addressed
Eichmann.  However, I am unable to remember any such
incident.  I do not believe that such a confrontation took
place.  Given the prevailing circumstances, it is unlikely
that we would have been in this restaurant with other
guests, particularly with many Hungarians.  Gradually, I
found out through the Hungarian premier, Sztojay, and the
Hungarian Minister of the Interior, Jaross, something about
Eichmann's duties.  I had known Premier Sztojay already
earlier.  In Hungary I knew them, or got to know the two of
them, well.  This familiarity led both of them to tell me
repeatedly what was bothering and worrying them.  I had
frequent confidential, friendly conversations with the two
of them.  Both of them told me that Endre had been appointed
State Secretary at the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior at
the express request of the Regent, Horthy.  There he was
allocated Jewish matters as his special sphere of duties.
They also told me that State Secretary Endre had gone to
Berlin with Eichmann to the Head Office for Reich Security.
This fact showed me clearly that Eichmann was working
together with the Hungarian authorities, and more
particularly with Endre, and was therefore active in Jewish

In the course of time, Eichmann paid several visits to me.
As an SS officer, he had to report off-duty to me when he
left Hungary.  He also had to report back to me when he
returned to Hungary.  He came to see me for this reason.  On
these occasions I learned from him that the Jews in a
particular district had been rounded up by the Hungarian
gendarmerie.  I took note of what he told me and reflected
on it.  Eichmann was, however, not subordinate to me.  He
received his orders directly from the Head Office for Reich

On the testimony given by witness Grell and shown to me -
this is an affidavit dated 26 May 1948 - I should like to
make the following comment:  The allegation that Eichmann
was subordinate to me, with regard to disciplinary or
technical support on the spot, is not true in this form.
Eichmann belonged to the Berlin Head Office for Reich
Security.  Whenever he received orders, it was from this
body.  There was no change from that in Hungary, either.  I
never gave Eichmann any practical support for carrying out
the duties assigned to him in such a way as to put him under
my control in the performance of these duties.

I cannot give any figures about the size and extent of the
Eichmann Special Commando.  As far as I remember, I never
visited Eichmann's office, which was some distance from my

In describing Eichmann, I should like to say that I did not
like this officer's snappish manner.  I considered him to
have the nature of a subaltern.  By this I mean someone who
uses his authority unreservedly, without evolving moral or
mental restraints upon the exercise of his power; nor does
he have any scruples about exceeding his authority, if he
believes he is acting in the spirit of the person giving him
his orders.

In contrast to Eichmann, I consider State Secretary Endre to
be someone who performed his duties according to his own
views, and not in order to please someone.   In Endre's
case, there may have been a certain amount of fanaticism.
My impression of Endre developed particularly during the
criminal proceedings against him in the Budapest People's
Court.  There I found confirmation of my view about Endre.
Endre in no way denied guilt on his part: He accepted
responsibility for everything he had done and acknowledged
it to the Court.  I cannot imagine that Endre could have
been decisively influenced by an Eichmann, as far as his
attitude and beliefs were concerned.

In this connection I would mention that Reichsfuehrer
Himmler told me, when he gave me my assignment to Hungary,
that there was no interest in the Jewish Question in
Hungary.  He said that Hungary was being occupied for
military reasons.

I am unable, on the basis of my official findings in
Hungary, to say definitively with whom the initiative to
deport the Jews originated.  I can only draw conclusions on
the basis of statements made to me and my observations of
men who were in Hungary.  In that respect I can only confirm
the accuracy of testimony I gave earlier in the criminal
proceedings against Weizsaecker and others.  I believe that
there was an agreement between the Head Office for Reich
Security and the Hungarian authorities.  Dr. Veesenmayer
will have received orders from the Minister for Foreign
Affairs, Ribbentrop, to implement these agreements.  The
agreements were then implemented largely by the Hungarian
police.  In this connection I would mention that a Hungarian
lieutenant of the gendarmerie told me that he himself heard
that Hungarian Lieutenant-Field Marshal Faragho stated to
the People's Court in Budapest that he had been responsible
for planning the ghettoization and deportation of the Jews
in Hungary.

On 25 August 1944, I received a teletype from Reichsfuehrer
Himmler.  The teletype said that there must be an immediate
halt to all deportations of Jews to Germany.  I passed on
the teletype which had come to me to the Reich
Plenipotentiary, Dr. Veesenmayer, by telephone.  His office
was to be informed of it.

In June 1944, Regent Horthy had already told me at some
stage that he had received a telegram about the Jewish
Question from the President of the USA, Roosevelt.  He had
received bitter reproaches.  Regent Horthy had then
prohibited deportations of Jews in the future.  These facts
cannot give rise to the conclusion that my department dealt
with deporting Jews.  This was a private comment to me by
Regent Horthy during the course of a discussion.

As to labour service on the so-called Ostwall, I can
indicate that one day, when I was ill in the summer of 1944
- or it may have been at the beginning of the autumn of 1944
-  I received a visit from a Leader in the Reich Labour
Service who wanted labourers for work on the fortifications.
I referred him to the legation, to Dr. Veesenmayer.  After
that I heard that large numbers of people had been set in
motion on foot towards the border between Austria and
Hungary. I saw these groups of people and found that they
had to continue moving, although they were completely
exhausted.  Utterly exhausted people sat or lay around by
the roadside.  I remember Obergruppenfuehrer Juettner coming
to me to make representations to me.  I am able from my own
observations to confirm as correct his description of the
march and the condition of the exhausted people, which he
gave in his examination on 3 May 1948 in Nuremberg, which
description has been read out to me.  I am unable to say
whether the name Eichmann was mentioned in this context.

I made representations to Reichsfuehrer Himmler on account
of these foot marches.  Reichsfuehrer Himmler immediately,
in my presence, contacted Gruppenfuehrer Mueller from the
Head Office for Reich Security on the matter.  I myself
heard Reichsfuehrer Himmler ordering a ban on all further
foot marches.  Those who had been sent off on these marches
were to be removed by vehicle.  I gathered from this
conversation of Reichsfuehrer Himmler with the Head Office
for Reich  Security - Mueller - that the foot marches had
taken place with the knowledge of the Head Office for Reich

I cannot say anything about the other questions from my own

Read out, approved, signed:
(-) Otto Winkelmann

The witness was sworn.

Present at the examination were:

1. For the Attorney General, representing the Prosecution:
Mr. Erwin S. Shimron;
2. For the Defence: Advocate Wechtenbruch, Munich
(-) Muenchhoff
(-) Berndt

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